"In reality, those who repudiate a theory that they had once proposed, or a theory that they had accepted enthusiastically and with which they had identified themselves are very rare. The great majority of them shut their ears so as not to hear the crying facts, and shut their eyes so as not to see the glaring facts, in order to remain faithful to their theories in spite of all and everything." - Maurice Arthur (Philosophy of Scientific Investigation, 1921)
My allergic symptoms appeared in the early 1990s. Over the years, after numerous medical tests in different countries, doctors were still unable to name my condition. The symptoms were similar to sinus infection and hay fever. The only solution was to take antihistamines and nose sprays to ease these debilitating symptoms. The side effects were: drowsiness, dizziness... A few years ago, I started to take the medicines more and more frequently, almost every day. I guess my body got used to them and their effect was not the same anymore.
I started to be interested in nutrition when my kids developed eczema in 2001. I knew eczema was an immune disorder, and if we give the right nutrients to our body to function well, the immune system will rebalanced itself and the symptoms will disappear. After a few month on a low-fat, low-sugar (vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, whole grains) my kids got better. The symptoms almost completely disappeared within 2 month (without steroids). So I switched to this diet as well.
I was quite happy with the results as I really felt better. I never considered becoming a vegetarian as I knew about the importance of animal food in our diet. I also knew about the harmful effects of sugar. I could not stay long on a high vegetable/fruit diet as I was losing weight (muscle mass). So I went on and off, which allowed me symptom free periods without losing massive weight. When I was off the diet, I was always sick.
A few years ago I started to question conventional wisdom about nutrition, I was doing something wrong. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know how native populations avoided chronic diseases. If it's true that if I eat the right food (designed for my "species"), then I am not supposed to develop allergic symptoms, nor lose or gain weight.
In 2008, I tumbled upon the work of Dr Weston Price: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It gave me an insight on the health of populations transitioning from their native diet to our modern, "civilized" food. This study has been made in the 1930s and it cannot be repeated today. Everywhere around the world, we all rely on modern food... and try to fix it's consequences.
I also started to read more about biochemistry. I wanted to understand the metabolic effects of our food on our cells. I came to understand that hormones are the main regulators of energy in our body, and insulin is the only hormone responsible for storing fat in our tissues. This led me to understand more about our obesity epidemic and chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease...) linked to this condition, and its connection to high insulin levels. My biggest inspiration was Gary Taubes (Good Calories Bad Calories). His logic and critical thinking taught me a lot about the science of nutrition... or the lack of it.
What I've learned could explain many of my symptoms, my kids disease and many other chronic diseases in my family. I have to admit that I was wrong on the huge importance of saturated fat in our diet. Almost everything I knew about diet was wrong.
I learned that:
- From an evolutionary point of view we are designed to eat dietary fat (bone marrow, organ meat, meat, fish, butter...)
- Native populations considered fat as an important nutrient.
- Saturated fat consumption is not linked to heart disease and does not have an effect on cholesterol in our blood, but sugar does.
- A high carbohydrate and sugar diet is dangerous.
- Obesity cannot be solved by eating less and exercising more.
- Cancer growth is slowed down or reversed on a low-carbohydrate diet.
- On a high fat diet we are not hungry
... and many more.
So I gave the "caveman" diet a try. I guinea-pigged myself to see if it really worked. I cut out all starches and sugars (I reduced the amount of fruits in my diet as well) and replaced them with fat (meat, fish, eggs, organ meat, butter...). In a week my allergic symptoms disappeared completely, and today I am totally off medication.. All this after more than 20 years of suffering from this disease.
My friends and friend's friends became curious about this diet and I am very happy to share my story and what I've learned during these years. When they start eating this way, they tell me about the improvements in their body. The most I hear about is weight loss, better skin, better digestion, absence of hunger, much less allergic reactions...
I hope this blog will help other people learn more about the impact of our food on our health.
Finally, I would like to thank all my relatives and friends who, during these years, did not let me down and supported me in my search and learning. I hope I can be as supportive to them as they were for me in times of frustration where they had to listen to my endless rants about my poor heath, and loved me when I least deserved it. Thank you!